20 Affordable DIY Ideas for a Boredom-free, Screen-free Summer

Summer DIYs + fave books

Aka how to not get bored when you have endless free time (which you have in the summer if you’re a student like me.)

I’ll admit it, when I get bored, I sometimes end up just scrolling endlessly through Pinterest instead of actually DOING something, and most people probably do something similar. That’s not good for you though, and besides, being creative and productive is pretty awesome. With that in mind, here are 21 DIY ideas that you can use to stay un-bored this summer. (Um, un-bored is totally a word.)

1) Make your own notebooks

It sounds hard, but making your own notebooks is actually pretty easy, and you can make them out of cereal boxes! Click here to read my tutorial.


2) Start a sketchbook

Keeping a sketchbook is a great way to stay in touch with your creative side. Try to fill up one page every day, or just draw whenever you feel like it. If you don’t have a sketchbook, try making your own (see previous idea!) If that doesn’t float your boat, you can buy sketchbooks for pretty cheap. I got mine at my local arts & crafts store for about $5, and you can usually get sketchbooks at the dollar store or Target. Can’t think of anything to draw? No worries! Here are some ideas:

  • look around the room and draw the first object you see
  • try a contour drawing (draw something without picking your pen up off of the paper) or a blind contour drawing (the same idea, but don’t look at the paper while you’re drawing)
  • copy something on your favorite book cover
  • draw a favorite book/TV/movie character
  • make a collage using glue and magazine/newspaper pages
  • “draw” something using colored tape
  • do a self portrait
  • write out  a to-do list in fancy handwriting and decorate it with doodles
  • use tombow dual brush pens, a plastic baggie, and water to create a watercolor effect (read my tutorial here)


3) Build a fort

You might think that forts are just for kids, but it is my personal belief that you’re never too old to build a fort. Just get a few chairs, some sheets, and some comfy pillows and you have your own hideout! Or, make a more permanent nook with pillows and a flashlight in the back of a closet. Use it for reading, drawing, journaling, and the like.

4) Sew something

Even if you don’t know how to sew, there are plenty of youtube channels that will teach you. My personal favorite is MADE Everyday. I’ve used Dana’s tutorials for circle skirts (super cute!) and pillowcases. The pillowcases are super easy—I made a bunch back in December as Christmas gifts.


5)  Make your own stationery

Making cards and envelopes is really fun, and it’s great to have a bunch on hand for birthdays and thank you cards. There are lots of free templates on Pinterest that you can use to make envelopes. If you’re looking for snail mail inspiration, check out my Pinterest board.


6) Make bracelets

With just a few pieces of embroidery floss, you can make some super cool bracelets. There are loads of tutorials on Youtube.

7) Write letters

Now’s the time to use your handmade stationery! Letter writing is all but extinct in the age of social media, but it can be really fun and exciting to receive a real letter. Here are some ideas for what you could write:

  • a letter to a friend or a relative
  • find a pen pal—there are lots of websites that will match you up with a letter writing buddy
  • thank you cards
  • invitations to  party or gathering
  • holiday cards
  • a letter to a celebrity—I wrote to J.K. Rowling once.
  • a letter to your future self

Letter writing

8) Decorate your walls

Decorating walls with photos, art prints, posters, washi tape, and the like can give a room a completely different look. I am currently in the process of revamping one of the walls n my room by hanging twine and attaching polaroid photos with little clothespins. Washi tape is another easy way to decorate—just get your favorite tape and stick it on the wall! Put it on your door, use it to “frame” pictures hanging on the wall, or create a design or pattern.

9) Organize your room

During the school year, I don’t have a lot of time for organizing, so summer is when I go through all my stuff and organize it. This one isn’t the most fun all the time (unless you’re like me; I actually really like organizing, hehe) but it’s really helpful to know where everything in your room is. I use bins on my desk to sort all of my stuff into categories; magazines, art supplies, etc. I also recently took all my books off of my shelves and rearranged them. I’m really obsessed with this rainbow thing I have going on!


10) Make origami

I love origami! All you need is some paper (if you don’t have square origami paper, just cut some regular paper into squares) and some good instructions. Two of my favorite origami Youtube channels are Paper Kawaii and Jo Nakashima. Just make sure you start out with some of their easier models! (Both of these channels have playlists that separate their models by difficulty.) Or, even better, use an origami book, because watching a tutorial isn’t exactly screen-free.

11) Make bookmarks

Making bookmarks is a super simple but fun craft. Just cut pieces of paper to the right size and decorate however you want! Or you can make them with paint samples and you don’t even have to do anything with scissors! Here are a few ways you could decorate:


12) Clean out your closet

When I don’t clean out my closet for a while, I usually end up with a lot of clothes that I don’t actually wear because they’re a) too small, or b) I don’t like them. Taking the time to go through all of your clothes and decide which ones are worth keeping is super important. Make three piles: keep, throw away, and donate. When you’re done, you’ll have more space for new clothes, and it’ll be easier to find things.

13) Practice your handwriting

While lots of writing is digital, I’d still consider good penmanship to be a useful skill. There are lots of ways to practice your handwriting, and it can be as simple as getting a piece of lined paper and writing your name a bunch of times. Just writing something every day will improve your handwriting a lot. Try copying down song lyrics or poetry, writing in a journal, or writing a letter (see idea #7.) Or, if you want, get a workbook for a more structured approach. I really like this Spencerian Penmanship book. The #RockYourHandwriting challenge on Instagram is another great way to practice.


14) Try your hand at photography

Taking pictures is really fun, and you don’t need a fancy camera to do it; I take all of my blog and Instagram pictures with my phone. Go outside. Take pictures while lying down, or climb a tree to get a new angle. Experiment with different filters. Zoom in on a bug or a flower. Find a sunny spot indoors and photograph different objects. Take pictures of a sibling or a parent. The possibilities are endless.

hey look it’s my feet
flowers are your friends
the sun and trees and stuff
unfortunately, this ladder is kinda broken
more pictures of my feet!
and here’s a picture of my instax camera

15) Bake cookies

Or, if it’s too hot for cookies, make your own popsicles. Just fill plastic cups with juice and stick them in the freezer. Put popsicle sticks in the cups before the juice is fully frozen, and you have a cold, refreshing treat.

16) Build something with legos

I know that most people think legos are just for little kids, but you can actually make some pretty cool and useful things with them:

(click for pictures)

17) Write a story

Find a notebook and start writing!


18) Turn old t-shirts into bags:

  1. cut the neckline to make it lower
  2. cut off the sleeves
  3. turn the shirt inside out
  4. make cuts a few inches long and about an inch apart along the bottom of the shirt (you should be cutting two layers of fabric at once)
  5. this will create a sort of fringe at the bottom
  6. tie each strip from the first layer to the strip underneath
  7. put the shirt right side out again
  8. you now have a bag!

19) Read a book!

Reading is my favorite thing to do in the summer. Take a trip to your local library! Or, if that isn’t your jam, bookoutlet.com sells new and used books for REALLY cheap!!! I’ve bought way too many books from this website in the past month. But I can’t help it when  I can get eight or nine books for just $35! AND they ship really fast, and shipping is free on orders above $35! As if it wasn’t good enough already. (This is in no way sponsored by Book Outlet. I just really love their website!) If you don’t know what to read, head over to Goodreads. Or, read one of my favorites (click here to read the blog post.)

My All-Time Favorite Books

(A few books in this stack—Mockingjay and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets are books in series, so read the first ones first! I’ve lent out my copy of The Hunger Games and I couldn’t find the first Harry Potter book…)

20) Bullet journal, of course!

Did you really think I would get through this post without talking about bullet journaling at least once? Haha, you were wrong. Summer is the perfect time for bullet journaling. Practice some doodles. Make some new collections. Decorate your notebook cover. Update your index. Journal about your day. Don’t know what a bullet journal is? Read this post.


Which ideas are you going to try this summer? Did you see any that you hadn’t thought of? Have you read any of my favorite books? What do you do to prevent boredom? Let’s chat in the comments below! 😉


♥ Annie

summer diys pin

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